Summary: Churches in New York City need desperately other churches in America to help us. We cannot do this job alone.

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By Pastor Fernando Cabrera

New Life Outreach International Church

2757 Morris Ave. Bronx. NY. 10468

(718) 562-2230

How can I even begin to describe to you the tragedy of the World Trade Center as a pastor who has found himself in the middle of the biggest tragedy this city (some say this nation) has ever faced. I write to you as a fellow minister and pastor who has witness the pain and suffering of this catastrophe. This event has caught our nation by surprise,but much more to the pastors and churches who reside in this city. Some congregations lost church members and others are literally traumatized by this horrific tragedy. As someone who has worked in the ministry and as a counselor for many years in this city, I have never seen so many people be "troubled" and overwhelm by a tragedy. From the moment that this tragic event took placed, phone calls flooded into my home. I have slept very little.

I visited "Ground Zero" with a few local pastors (we were granted special permission) to minister to the firemen and policemen who have been working tirelessly under chaotic conditions. But what I saw in television did not really prepared me for what I saw at the site where the WTC once stood. It is the most horrific tragedy I have ever witnessed. Devastation is the only word that comes to mind. It is beyond words. Just minutes before I arrived, firemen had pulled out 10 dead bodies and other "body parts".

Many pastors and congregations in New York City (especially those in the lower side of New York City) are now confronted with the biggest community tragedy they have ever experienced in their ministerial careers. There are churches there were forced to close down as a direct result of this catastrophe. Others are overwhelmed with the "counseling" overload that accompanies a crisis such as this. Some congregations have church members who were trapped in the rubble, while others churches have members who are beginning to experience Post Traumatic signs. I have a couple of members who made it out alive by the grace of God (for which I weep with joy), but now have the long road of recovery and healing.

What can other congregations in America do?

1. Please pray for the pastors and congregations who were affected by this tragedy. Please do not think for a second that your prayers are of no value. Le t your congregations know from the pulpit that these prayers mean the world to us. Pray that God will use this incident to draw New Yorkers to Jesus. I have seen God beginning to move among unbelievers like never before. Many who would not be caught in a church, now were found in churches already this week.

2. If you have daughters churches or denominational churches in the area, please contact them to see if they need help. Do not miss this moment to be a house of blessing. At the very least you can be a pillar of moral and emotional support to these pastors. Paul was an advocate for the church of Jerusalem in their moment of need. Paul did not forget those whom it had connected with in the past.

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